It’s to be a weekend of exercise and as much restrained eating as I can manage. It’s a simple equation: x calories in and y calories out. My x and y values must be equal at the very least and preferably the value of y should exceed the value of x.
It’s the second Saturday in the month and with typical village rigour this means it’s a day for the Winterborne Walkers. Sheila has planned us a route that starts from The Woodpecker pub in Charlton Marshall. The walk makes a circuit back to the pub and will start with a bit of a climb to Spetisbury Rings then loops round taking in Crawford Bridge and a lovely little church with Medieval wall paintings, tucked into a secluded corner of countryside. The beautiful of Crawford Bridge (listed as a scheduled monument in 1955) gives us a wonderful view of clear water, swans including a family with five fluffy pale mink-coloured cygnets, and a heron.
Later we arrive at the St-Mary-the-Virgin Church at Tarrant Crawford. This simple church dates back to the 12th century, and is all that remains of a wealthy Cistercian nunnery – the 13th century Tarrant Abbey – to which it may have been a lay chapel. Our way takes past several water bodies and across a raised path with railings which incline pleasantly outwards. The environs appear to be part of a large landscaped garden but although we have passed several residential properties it is not clear to whom this garden might belong. As we continue we also get a second sighting of a swan family below a small bridge, Aand as we watch the birds it is fascinating to see that the young mimic the body posture of the adult who appears to be in charge. Must be the mother……..The walk route we have taken is very agreeable and later when I surf to look for a particular bit of information I come across this website, which describes several walks taking The Woodpecker as the starting point.
The following day we have planned to walk with Maddy and Andrew on Portland, at Church Ope. As a spontaneous and last minute decision son Dan and Jake had booked into The Old Workshop overnight with a view to climbing at The Cuttings on Portland. Unlike a lot of Portland, the limestone walls at The Cuttings are not natural; as the name suggests, they are the remains of an old railway cuttings. The railway itself, which serviced the island’s quarries, is now long gone, but it has left a crag with easy access. Dan and Jake head off after breakfast to stake their claim and we rendez vous with M and A in the carpark opposite the Museum at 11.
We walk along the cliff top, following the track of the old railway until we can progress no further, our passage being prevented by The Verne. Instead we clamber down onto the area known as Penn’s Weare, as described by the blogger on this website. The topography is undulating but a bit craggy too and the area is popular for those who like to go bouldering. This is a lovely area to walk, the flora is wonderful and diverse. I see several spent ‘flowerheads’ of a Broomrape and eventually find one in perfect condition. There are 200 species of Orobanche so I feel I have little hope of identifying my specimens although there is one species O. hederae which parasitizes ivy exclusively and there was certainly some ivy around. The tiny florets of Pyramidal orchids are just beginning to open. We continue until we come to the cliff top on the eastern margin of Church Ope Cove. We scramble down a narrow steep track with my enemy ‘scree’ very much in evidence. Thank goodness for my walking pole which gives me a third leg. And for the hand of Nick.
The steps up from the cove are a bit taxing but welcome…………….. calories out. The four of us head for the Cove Inn at Chesil where we order lunch (calories in and too many!) and are shortly joined by the climbers. Dan treats us all to lunch.
The following day is a busy one, I must prepare the garden for our leave of absence (which means moving a number of pots to sites where they will not bake), drive into Dorchester to collect a couple of items, visit my mother. Nick adds a bit more wood to the pergola he is constructing in the garden. In the afternoon Joy and Tricia pay us a visit and I must abandon them to Nick. We are getting dab hands at this commuting business. Just before supper and with the early evening sun smiling down upon the garden, I take a few photos.
We go to bed not too late and rise an hour earlier than we normally do in order to leave the house feeling calm and collected. We achieve this.